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LETTER: Iqaluit to host public meeting on polar co-management draft

From: Jason Akearok,

Executive director, NWMB

Dear editor,

Thank you for your article, dated Aug. 8, entitled Arviat polar bear slaughter sparks debate. We appreciate the relationship we have with journalists and thank you for sharing stories about wildlife.

The Nunavut Wildlife Management Board (NWMB) is the main instrument for wildlife management in Nunavut. As such, the recent polar bear activities in the Arviat area are of concern to the NWMB and we recognize the sensitivities surrounding the topic.

We work together with our co-management partners to make decisions about the management of wildlife in Nunavut.

We base our decisions on the knowledge of wildlife managers, users and the public, and on up-to-date research based in Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and modern science.

Our mission is to conserve wildlife (and wildlife habitat) for the long term-benefit of all Nunavut residents while fully respecting Inuit harvesting rights and priorities.

To further support your work, I would like to provide additional information that will allow you to clarify inaccuracies in your most recent article. We want to provide you with this important information so that the public can also be informed.

In January of 2018, the NWMB held an in-person public hearing in Rankin Inlet that focused on Western Hudson Bay polar bears.

As a result, in March of 2018, the NWMB increased the total allowable harvest (TAH) again. The current TAH in the region is 38, which is up from 28 just a year ago.

The NWMB will hold an in-person public hearing in Iqaluit this fall to consider the draft Nunavut polar co-management plan, not in Arviat as stated in your article.

The NWMB will, however, hold its next regular board meeting in Arviat on Sept. 12. This meeting is open to the public and we encourage people to attend.

The agenda and the meeting materials will be available to the public on our website early next week.

The NWMB is committed to maintaining open and transparent communications. We welcome input from the public and our co-management partners on wildlife issues affecting Nunavut.

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